Friday, January 31, 2014

Mama Dixon's Baked Eggs

This is another one of our favorite breakfasts. It's simple and healthy, but don't tell the kids. I'm calling it "Mama Dixon's Baked Eggs" because I don't know what else to name it. It's not regular baked eggs, but not quite Italian baked eggs, either. Whatever you call this recipe, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

large eggs
fresh spinach leaves
diced tomato (fresh or canned)
salt & pepper
fresh basil (chopped)
shredded mozzarella
*Amount of each depends on how many you wish to make. Use your best judgement.*

Spray ramekins, then layer spinach, tomato, and salt & pepper.

Crack in one egg per ramekin.

Top with a teaspoon of milk, and sprinkle with cheese.

Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 8 min. Rotate and bake another 7-9 minutes (until white is firm, but yolk is still runny).

Sprinkle with basil and salt & pepper to taste, and serve with toast. Yummy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Baked Oatmeal w/Blueberries & Milk

This is one of our favorite breakfasts. The blueberries and milk are optional. We often vary our toppings. Fried apples work well, as does a fruit compote, or just a drizzle of maple syrup. You can bake it the night before, and simply reheat for a quick breakfast the next morning. This recipe serves 8.

3 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2tsp ground cinnamon
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of milk (plus more for serving)
2 large eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
2tsp vanilla
blueberries, fried apples, fruit compote, maple syrup, or any topping of your choice

First, mix your dry ingredients.

Then, stir in your 1 cup of milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla.

Next, spread in a greased/sprayed 9x13.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Scoop into bowls.

Top, and serve. Yummy!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Workboxing Outside the Box: Simplifying the Space Consuming "Workbox System"

Let me start by praising the "Workbox System." I can't say enough good things about it. It turned my world around, and led me to more peaceful days. For that, I am grateful. I love that I don't have to stop in the middle of a lesson with one child, to tell another what to do next. I adore the extra moments I can spend building play dough forts, with my preschooler, since the older two have clear instructions to follow. However, the system is quite space consuming, and a little restricting for my independent workers. They like to work in the order they choose. Some days, my daughter likes to start with spelling. Other days, she may prefer to begin with math. My son likes to skim through all his assignments, and begin with what he feels will be the most involved/time consuming, then finish with his lighter work.

So, here's how I "Workbox" outside the box. I have a great love for Post-its, I mean my husband really should be jealous. I use them for anything and everything. On topic, I use them to dole out assignments.

 First, I consult my planner, where I spend time each Sunday, planning out the week's assignments. Then, I write directions, like this...

Or like this...

Next, I post those directions on the corresponding page of a textbook, poking out to be easily seen...

Lastly, I stack the books in the cubby beneath the child's desk...

THAT'S IT. So simple, so efficient. Each kid can work in whichever order they choose, as long as they complete all of the assignments.They are responsible for keeping up with their binders/composition notebooks, and for turning in their assignments on time. When they are learning new material, I post a "see mom" note and a lesson follows. If they need help or have a question, I'm 100% available (usually in the same room, but if not, easily located--check the laundry room, lol). Cheap and easy...just the way I like it.

 What's your system like?

Monster Cupcakes

I'm a little embarrassed to admit how much fun I had making these. I got the idea off of something I saw on Pinterest, but they were aliens, and I did not follow their accompanying recipe. For these funny little guys, I used my favorite brownie mix, the boxed kind (Eek! I know.), but I always substitute butter for the oil and milk for the water. This easy adjustment leaves any boxed baking mix tasting more homemade. Then, I put the brownie mix into lined cupcake tins, and baked at 350 for 18 minutes. Meanwhile, I made a simple icing by mixing 2 cups of powdered sugar, 2tbsp of softened butter, 2 tbsp of milk, and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Next, I divided the icing evenly into 3 separate bowls, and added a few drops of neon gel food coloring to each one.

I almost didn't even want to ice these....

After the brownie-cupcakes had cooled completely, I iced them (four of each color), and the kids helped decorate them with assorted candies. This was the fun part. Giggles had by all. 

Daily Schedule? Not Exactly.

   I'm a list maker. I make lists for everything, from packing for vacation to grocery shopping (in order by aisle, no less). It can get out of hand, really. I'm also a chart maker (chore charts, meal plans, weekly goals, you name it). I can't tell you how many "daily schedules" I've made, in an attempt to run the lives of my family. I'm talking down to the minute (i.e. 8:47-brush teeth). It's ridiculous to think ANYONE can keep such a tight leash on themself, much less an entire family of five. So, I quit. One day, I just woke up and said, "That's it! Why am I doing this?!" No more formal schedules for this household.

    Now, that said, we do have to keep some sort of order to our day. Therefor, in list-maker fashion, I came up with what I like to call our "Daily Order of Events." This is just an order in which to get things accomplished. We are usually all up and moving by 8am, and the kids are normally on their way to bed (one by one, by order of age, in 30 minute intervals) between 8:30 and 10pm, with the exception of Friday, when they stay up later for Family Movie Night. From point A to point B, a lot of day takes place. Below is what the kids' "order of events" looks like during the months of January, February, and March of 2014. The order changes seasonally, to accommodate various activities. I try to stay a step ahead of their schedule. For example, I'm cooking breakfast as they wake, and I'm doing laundry during their free time. Oh to be a kid again!

What does your day usually look like?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tomato, Corn, and 'Crab' Chowder

This is a recipe I developed out of laziness. I did NOT want to go to the store in the cold. So, I combed the kitchen for anything that could be thrown together, and called a meal. This rarely happens, because I like to have a plan, but like I said, it was too cold for this mama. What I came up with, on this particular evening, I originally called a bisque, but by definition I believe it is more of a chowder, so I'm rolling with that. This yummy little dish quickly made it's way into our rotation of favorites, and it's easily doubled for our family of 5. It's simple. It's tasty.

1 can petite diced tomato (undrained)
1 can cream style corn
1 cup of milk (or cream)
a splash or two of cooking sherry
1 1/2 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning
a pinch of flour
8oz imitation crab (you could use real crab, if you're fancy)
2 tbsp grated parmesan

Throw the diced tomato, cream corn, and sherry into a pot, over medium low heat. Gradually stir in the milk. Add the Old Bay and flour, stirring until flour is clearly incorporated. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the parmesan, and crumble the crab into the chowder. Heat through, about 5 minutes. That's it. The sprig of herb in the above picture is purely for show.